Breakfast program eyed for Long River

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PROSPECT — Long River Middle School students may soon be able to grab a quick breakfast at school before the first bell rings.

The Region 16 Board of Education, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, is looking at implementing a breakfast program at the middle school.

Business Manager Pamela Mangini told the board at its Sept. 11 meeting Long River is eligible this year for a $3,000 state grant to help offset the cost of running the program.

To qualify for the grant, at least 20 percent of lunches served at a school two years before receiving the grant must have been served to students receiving free or reduced lunch, Victoria Biello, director of food services, explained in an email. In the case of Long River, 21.3 percent of the lunches served in the 2011-12 school year were free or reduced, according to Biello.  

School officials are still ironing out the details of how a breakfast program at Long River would work and cost.

“We’re trying to see if it’s going to be feasible,” Mangini told the board.

Superintendent of Schools Tim James said the grant wouldn’t cover the entire cost of the program. He envisions more of a “grab and go” program that would allow students to get a prepackaged breakfast in the cafeteria and eat it before class starts for the day. The program would be open to all students and staff, he said.

The only other school in the district with a breakfast program is Woodland Regional High School. James said the breakfast offered at the high school is more extensive than the one being discussed for Long River.

James said a presentation on a proposed program is expected to be given to the board at its Sept. 25 meeting. School officials will also be reaching out to parents of middle school students to gauge the interest in such a program, he said.

Whether parents or students would be interested remains to be seen, but James feels the program can be one that is very beneficial for students.

“There are all kinds of research that connects a good breakfast with academic achievement,” James said.